Burning Anthony Russo’s Redshirt

Montel Harris, Nate Combs

For Memorial Day, our favorite Temple-Army football photo of all time. Montel Harris telling Army captain and linebacker Nate Combs how he went off for 351 yards and seven touchdowns in a 63-32 win on Nov. 17, 2012. Combs, now a First Lt., is leader of a 40-man rifle platoon in the U.S. 101st Airborne Division.

Somewhere, somehow, Anthony Russo is getting ready to play football when he arrives on the campus of Temple University in a little over a month.

Sounds like a solid plan to me because, based on what we saw this spring, he is as good as any of the other Temple football backup quarterbacks right now. The Owls normally do not like to burn redshirts, but in the case of a special talent like Russo, that’s an exception they have to make for at least a couple of reasons.


Anthony Russo.

Frank Nutile (pronounced  NEW TILE) is the current backup, having won the No.2  job from Johnny Manziel-clone Logan Marchi. Yet, it has been a long time before Nutile was on the field as a starting quarterback and that was as a high school player at Don Bosco Prep. In that year, 2013, Nutile threw for 1,392 yards and 12 touchdowns. Compare that to Russo’s numbers at Archbishop Wood last year: 2,452 yards and 35 touchdowns.

So you have a guy in Russo who put up numbers more than twice as good as Nutile and who is nowhere near as rusty as Nutile is against live competition. Does Nutile being at Temple more than make up for that stark difference in pure talent?

Probably not.

The other reason to get Russo some time in 2016 is that he will most likely be your 2017 starting quarterback in the game at Notre Dame. The last time Temple played a true freshman at Notre Dame, kicker Jim Cooper Jr.,   he was more shellshocked that the Germans defending Berlin in May of 1945 and that scared him for the rest of his Temple career.

Getting Russo some time in some of the blowout wins this fall sounds like a plan. He’s getting ready. The Owls should give him a decent shot to be P.J. Walker’s backup come August. He’s probably their second-best quarterback now and they will have to lean heavily on him in 2017 so burning this redshirt should be considered.

Wednesday: The Second Easiest Schedule in College Football

7 thoughts on “Burning Anthony Russo’s Redshirt

  1. Pat Kraft spoke very highly of both Nutile and Russo.., Russo is a big kid with a cannon..,

    What is the record for QBs who started the first game of their college career vs Notre Dame at South Bend?

    Having our #2 get quality playing time this year is ESSENTIAL..,

    Imagine this..,Temple runs the table and/or wins the AAC conference championship, and a NY6 bowl game.., College Game Day would be at South Bend in the 2017 opener for the Temple vs Notre Dame re-match..,

    it is not far fetched, look at the hype building for the Oklahoma vs Houston game this year

    • Open competition in August. If Frank is better, go with Frank. If Anthony is better, go with Anthony. This whole idea of having to “save” a redshirt goes out the window if the kid proves to be a better player and can help the team right away. The numbers are so stark in Anthony’s favor, I find it hard to believe he can’t rise to No. 2. by 9/2. Plus, we have at least 2 additional years to recruit another Russo. With Matt Rhule’s powers of persuasion, that should not be too hard.

  2. One more thing about Russo. I don’t remember as a Temple fan ever being as sure in a “quarterback of the future” as I am of this kid. Saw MOST of his games either in person or on TV and he is about as real a deal as Temple ever sealed. I could not say those things about other great Temple quarterbacks like Adam DiMichele, Henry Burris, Brian Broomell or Steve Joachim because I never saw any of them play in high school. Anthony is easily the best high school quarterback I ever saw, and that includes Matty Ryan.

    • High praise Mike, I hope you’re right. We definitely need to get the second best QB on the team onto the field this season for grooming purposes and to see how they handle game conditions. Without getting too specific we’re pretty familiar with the kid who tears it up in practice but dissolves in game conditions.

      • I hear you; fortunately, Anthony Russo has been in many high-pressure game situations playing at the highest level of high school football and delivered every time. Practice should be a piece of cake after what he’s done.

  3. That is probably right, but Nutley played for a high school team, if I recall correctly, that featured a very run heavy offense. Still, I think that Russo is a special talent and underrated at three star.  Salisrab (Rabbi Dick White)

    Sent from my Galaxy Tab® A

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